Speaking to a roundtable of Digital First Media editors in the offices of The Times Herald newspaper, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania lamented that the background checks legislation he co-sponsored with West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin didn’t pass because Republicans don’t want to be seen helping the President (even if it means doing the wrong thing).
Toomey explained, “In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it.”
Toomey tried to walk it back by adding that he meant to say Republicans across the nation in general, not just those in the Senate. “The toughest thing to do in politics is to do the right thing when your supporters think the right thing is something else.”
It’s not clear why Toomey would blame supporters, when poll after poll shows gun owners and Republicans in favor of background checks. Also, Republican voters aren’t in danger of being seen as helping the President. The only people that refers to are people who get elected, not those who vote.
The truth is that Toomey’s first statement was correct, and it revealed too much truth about his colleagues. Republican legislators are so intent on destroying Obama’s agenda that they have proven themselves willing to stab the will of the people in the back, along with common sense and integrity.
Ironically, the common sentiment — even in the way Toomey phrased it — is that DC is “too politicized”, and often this gets blamed on the President. But what we have here is yet another example of who is politicizing DC, and it’s not President Obama. Republicans cannot afford to be seen doing the right thing for the country if it would assist Obama in a cause he supports.
It doesn’t matter what that cause is – from jobs to background checks – you’re not going to get it if Obama supports it, because the Republicans don’t want him to “win”. Anything. Even if Obama doesn’t view it as a “win”, and clearly he doesn’t, the Republicans are too tangled in their web of juvenile denial to be objective about policy. If Obama is for it, Republicans are against it.
It doesn’t matter what the policy is, or if Republicans believe in the policy or if it was based on conservative principles (see ObamaCare). They are against it. It doesn’t matter if the policy would help Americans. They are against it. It doesn’t matter it the policy might save lives. They are against it. Cuz Obama. WAA.
It will be dangerous for Republicans if American voters ever catch on, and begin to associate the “causes” of jobs, health, lives of our children, and other mainstream concerns as “liberal” and “Democratic” causes. After all, by standing in opposition to those causes only because a Democrat supports them, Republicans are setting themselves up as being against causes/policies that most Americans support, while also handing those causes to Democrats on a silver platter.
To wit, Toomey is enjoying a rise in the polls in Pennsylvania after backing the popular gun safety bill, with noticeable improvement from Democrats.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.